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A Springtime of Resilience

Soka University of America students spend their March spring break in Puerto Rico serving communities affected by Hurricane Maria. Photo by SKYLER WOLF.

Eighteen Soka University of America students spent their spring break repairing roofs and building minor household infrastructure in hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico.

The students had raised their own funds for travel and underwent construction work training beforehand.

SUA student Moses Addai explained one of the reasons he took part in the Alternative Spring Break program, held March 16–22: “I wanted to go to Puerto Rico to help out people who are in the terrible conditions I was in two years ago [during a flood in Accra, Ghana].”

During their stay, the group witnessed firsthand the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in the various communities within and surrounding San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Reflecting on her interactions with the Puerto Rican people, SUA student Victoria Huynh said she learned about their resilience and connection to their land.

Critical Conversations

In other SUA news, Critical Conversations, the university’s distinguished speakers series, is hosting “Suicide: A Conversation. Real Insight. Real Hope. Real Help.” The event will be held on April 16 at 7 p.m. PT. Speakers are Dr. Kay Redfield Jamison, international authority on mood disorders, and Alison Malmon, founder of Active Minds, an organization providing actionable information to help students find help.

They will discuss all aspects of the issue, including how people who suffer from depression and those supporting them can identify red flags. Their aim is to lift up the conversation about mental health to create hope and prevent future tragedies.

To view the livestream, go to: The video will be available for 30 days.

Soka University of America is a private, four-year liberal arts college and graduate school in Aliso Viejo, California, founded by Daisaku Ikeda in 2001. The university is ranked among the top 25 liberal arts colleges in the nation by U.S. News and World Report’s “Best Colleges 2019.”

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